City Council members inserted themselves into the statewide marijuana debate when they took up a resolution to oppose Amendment 64, which seeks to regulate pot like alcohol.
That got some people wondering: Have council members smoked pot? And if so, do they still smoke pot?
A few coughed up to trying weed.
Others said they’ve never touched it and never would.
A couple of councilmen were vague in their answers.
Here are their answers, all via email:
“In high school, I tried it with my four best friends in my home — yes mom was out of town,” Councilwoman Angela Dougan said.
“We had one joint. We all took a couple of puffs, and it was awful tasting. My thoughts were, ‘What a dumb thing and why would anyone do this?’ Never did it again,” she said.
“I have never used marijuana,” Councilman Merv Bennett said.
Bennett said the question posed to council was “very inappropriate.”
“The inappropriateness relates to asking a question that could lead to a criminal conviction. It isn’t a problem for me. I haven’t even smoked a cigarette,” Bennett said.
“As it relates to the debate, it is an Amendment to our State Constitution that could have significant and serious implications to our City, the quality of life of our citizens, federal funding for roads and bridges, public safety, etc. Something of that significance demands our attention,” Bennett added.
Like Bennett, Councilwoman Brandy Williams said she’s never smoked pot — or even a cigarette.
“I took D.A.R.E rather seriously,” she said, referring to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.
Councilman Val Snider took a page out of the Bill Clinton playbook.
“Does it count if you didn’t inhale?” Snider asked.
Councilman Tim Leigh was evasive in his answer.
“I saw your inquiry about council’s pot-smoking-propensity,” Leigh said in his first response.
“While I cannot state with absolute equivocation, it seems we’re all dipping in the medicine on about every other Tuesday afternoon, just after the lunch hour. That will likely come to an abrupt and unfettered halt when the Mayor (with my full endorsement) creates a no-smoking zone in Acacia Park,” he said.
When pressed for an answer, Leigh continued to be evasive.
“Puff the Magic Dragon, lived by the sea, Frolicked in the autumn mist in a a land called Hana Leigh,” he wrote.
When asked if he was smoking pot when he came up with that response, Leigh, a fitness buff, offered this tidbit and hinted that he may be cover-boy material.
“I’m smoking, alright. I’m on the stair master at the club with Men’s Journal. Photo shoot. Something about my lung power and fitness!” he said.
Councilwoman Lisa Czelatdko is out of town and did not respond.
The three council members who served on council before answered the question a few years ago.
Councilman Bernie Herpin said the only marijuana he had ever seen was on TV.
“Until I visited a dispensary, I had never actually seen marijuana in the flesh,” Herpin said.
Council President Scott Hente said he “never” smoked marijuana.
“Look where I graduated from,” said Hente, a retired lieutenant colonel who graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1975.
Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin said she tried it once and only once.
“I was so paranoid and looking over my shoulder the entire time that I decided it just wasn’t worth it and never tried it again,” she said. “That’s a very honest answer from a politician.”
By the way, Martin cast the lone dissenting vote on the resolution opposing Amendment 64.
“I wasn’t afraid of medical marijuana dispensaries, and I’m not afraid of this bill for marijuana in our community,” Martin said Tuesday.
The vote to pass the resolution was 5-1. Leigh refused to vote, saying the council isn’t in the business of making pronouncements.
Czelatdko and Williams were absent, though Williams said she would have voted with the majority.